We welcome you to the BIRHC Wellness Garden. The garden is located on the grounds of the Health Center and Forest View Senior Housing and is almost entirely maintained and funded by volunteers.
No budgeted funds were available upon completion of the buildings. Numerous Island businesses and individual Islanders came together with significant donations, specific tools and skills, and plain hard work to landscape the complex. We are forever grateful for their contributions, past and present.
The first thing to know about the garden is that you are always welcome. The Wellness Gardeners meet at the garden on Wednesdays, 10 am to about noon, during the growing season. We are happy to show you around and answer questions. At other times the garden is usually a quiet place of repose. There are benches in sun and shade for resting. But if you see wild turkeys or deer please shoo them away! The turkeys dig up our plants to make their dust baths and deer eat everything, even our carefully chosen "deer resistant" selections.
About the Wellness Gardeners: We are a loosely organized group of volunteers who help in the garden when we can. Some are Islanders who have a stake hold of responsibility for certain areas, some are seasonal residents, and others donate precious free time away from careers on or off-Island to garden and socialize with us. The Wellness Gardeners are a sociable group and we invite you to join us!
ANNUAL GARDEN TOUR BENEFIT BRINGS ANOTHER DAY OF FUN!
Thanks to many organized helpers our covid- cancelled 2020 TOUR was revamped for August 10th, with limited seating, and precautions taken. The cloudy day did not dampen our spirits and everyone cooperated with the changes we made from our usual tours. We visited 3 homes on Donegal Bay and one at Indian Point.
Our first stop was the Bottle House, a 1970 house built by Ruth and Ray Denny, now owned by Chris and Sue Screven. The artistic touches that Ruth incorporated have been enhanced by the Screvens, including lovely roadside garden areas as well as a beach deck filled with flower and vegetable containers. Our tour guests were invited inside for a quick look at all the wonderful driftwood and shipwreck pieces. Thank you Sue and Chris for allowing us to enter your unique Beaver Island abode!
Second stop was the Freeman's Place, noted for their colorful history of exchange of ownership. One time the lot was lost in a card game, another time traded for a boat and a gun. Bill and Janice built the main house in 1996, adding decking and a garage/guest house over the years since. Their landscaping has slowly been completed over the last 5 years, and Janice declared she would be happy to be included on the Garden Tour this summer. Thank you both for such a lovely tour of your special spot on the Bay!
We broke for lunch at the Port St. James Pavillion high on a dune overlooking the archipelago. This simple screened eating area was transformed into a festive beach party by Thea Mckiernan, Emily Ruddell, and Joan Callen, and 3 guests of Thea's. Yellow tablecloths with beach bucket centerpieces, a completely "dolled-up" cupcake stand with lemonade, and iced tea, as well as whimsical yard art out in the open air area. So delightful, and a wonderful pop of color that brightened the day. Tasty sandwiches from Bodega Culinary, as well as a presentation by Ed Leuck, dune botanist , and music by Chris Screven, all highlighted the lunch program. Also, throughout the day, unsuspecting guests were treated to a prize, given out by Jan Paul from her yearly collection that she gathers for this Event. What a fun , well-loved idea; thank you Jan!
The third stop was at the "Bird's Eye View ", the original Allen family cottage, now owned by Thea and Kito, her parrot. The cottage built by Henry Allen is the same footprint of others around the area, built from a kit from the mainland in 1966. The hearth built of stones that were collected by the Allen children is now outside in the back of the cottage. Thea has tried to plant flowers but her luck ran out early so she put in 600 dune grass plugs, and added whimsical spinners, art pieces and a few high quality faux pots of flora that don't need watering! Great job Thea. Your unique place reflects you. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
Last, but not least, we drove the winding trail to Indian Point and discovered the lovely serene setting of The Callen House. In 2002 the lot was purchased by Dennis and Joan, and after 3 years of a builder's wait list, they finally got their dream place built. The "jungle" was cleared of tree stumps, lake rocks brought in to define paths, grass planted and meticulously babied by Dennis, and perennials cared for by Joan. The green lush lawn gently flowing out to the shore beckons one to wander there and take in the view of the 3 islands beyond. A rocky theme continues within their home which they opened for us to see. A rock wall in the bathroom contains various sized stones from beaches here and also Arranmore Island. Joan has fond memories of doing this project with her mother. What a lovely piece of Paradise you two have created for generations to come. Thank you both for joining our Garden Tour Hosts this year.
This year Miranda Roen, a professional photographer on Beaver Island, offered to help capture photos of our Event. Please look at her website to view some of her work. We hope to see the Tour photos soon. Www.RoenPhotography.com, thank you Miranda!
Thank you to our hosts, our guests, our neverending Wellness Garden team, Ed Leuck, and CMU for their vans and drivers. We hope to see you next year!
Submitted by Leonor Jacobson and Jan Paul, with the aid of Dana D'Andraia's Tour Guide pamphlet.